Node 2i + nDac vs ND5XS2

I have a Nait XS2 and Bluesound Node 2i. I prefer the UI of Bluesound over the Naim app but am OK with both of them.
What would be the better sounding combination? Add a nDac to the Node or replace the Node for an ND5XS2?

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nDAC on its own is a rather grand leap forward from the ND5XS2, as it should be. And affords a similar upgrade path with power supplies.

Do note the nDAC is revealing of transport/input differences.

Is that a typo? What is a XP5XS2?


Would the Node 2i be a decent transport to better the standalone ND5XS2?

do you mean NDAC on it’s own with no PSU connected but still with ND5 XS 2 and bypassing it’s onboard DAC?

I haven’t tried that combo, but something as pedestrian as a google chromecast audio into the nDAC was significantly better than the ND5XS2.

The nDAC uses the same DAC as the NDS and CD555.

If you want to stream, a used NDX or NDS would give (dramatically, with an NDS) better performance than a ND5XS2. Note a NDS needs a separate power supply.

Either way. ND5XS2 into nDAC was a lot better than by itself, a chromecast audio into nDAC was a lot better than ND5 on its own.

Mmm…interesting. I wonder why Naim would put three years of research & development into their new streaming card. Surely the transport means something. It can’t be all in the DAC can it? I wonder why they have discontinued such model. Anyway, interesting all the same. Thanks

Well, as I noted, the nDAC is revealing of transport differences. And the ND5XS2 was good, and better than the chromecast as a transport, but the (bare) nDAC smokes the DAC in the ND5XS2. As it should.

Overall, the Chromecast into the nDAC/XPS is significantly better than the ND5XS2 (or a bare NDX, for that matter). I’m toying with swapping the nDAC for a NDS, which should be better all the way around.

(And please pardon any typos - on my phone.)

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Ok that’s great as i’m toying with the idea of adding a NDAC to my ND5 XS 2 myself. Anyway sorry to the OP to hijack thread (i think it’s all relevant). l shall be watching with eagle eyes. :grin:

I have an nDAC powered by a 555PS and fed by an NDX and a Bluesound Node 2 (both on wired ethernet). In direct A vs B comparisons, which is easy to do by simply selecting the relevant input on the nDAC, I do not hear a huge difference between the streamers. On balance, the NDX sounds better with locally streamed content and Tidal through Minimserver/Bubble uPNP.

The convenience of the Bluesound interface makes it very tempting sometimes to ignore the NDX, but I tend to listen to the NDX more.

The NDX is on standard Naim power cable, the nDAC and 555PS each have a PowerLine. I will add a used PowerLine to the NDX when I find one, which might bring an improvement to bring the NDX in line with the rest of the system.

For the price, the nDAC is a no-brainer. Adding a good power supply to it makes it even better. Unless an NDS or something better turns up for a low price, I will keep my 2017 NDX for a few more years. Transports may come and go, but I think the nDAC and 555PS are here to stay.



That’s very interesting @Leggit – I wonder whether the Node’s power supply is the weak link here, and whether a good LPS would close the gap and maybe even allow the Node to take over?

I think the NDX vs ND5XS2 is quite a close run thing. I know one person who has changed from an NDX to the baby streamer and is delighted.

Once you add PS’s to the NDX the gap widens but the ND5XS2 punches above its weight.


An adapter can be found on the big action site to allow a linear powers supply to be used on the Node 2 and 2i. It can be found by searching for Bluesound Node 2 upgrade.

For convenience and because they are very easy to use, we have a few Bluesound devices around the house. Although lockdown restrictions are being relaxed, I am still tempted to invest some time and try modifying one of our Node 2 boxes. If there is a marked improvement, it would be justified. However, I suspect that the law of diminishing returns might spoil things.

For a similar outlay, and because I like tinkering with user interfaces and operating systems, I am also tempted to try a solution with an Rpi as a transport to feed the nDAC.


I recently tried a Node 2i into my 272/555DR.

Tidal on the Node sounded poor in comparison to native Tidal on the 272.

But that’s hardly surprising when you consider what they are.


$450 vs ~$20,000 USD. I’m shocked! Shocked, I say . . .


I use Hugo (original) with my ND5XS and it sounds excellent.

Others with NDX also prefer the Chord to the nDAC even with a 555 PSU! … considering that the nDAC is no longer in production, why not try a used Hugo and save the extra funds for more music.

I presume you compared Node 2i analogue output vs native Tidal on the 272. Did you try digital coax output of the Node into 272 vs native 272 Tidal. If I understood correctly Node outputs MQA at 24 Bit 96 kHz over coax digital out, but as Naim does not support MQA, it plays it in CD quality natively. I would be interested how these two compare.

It sure does, its a sweet spot product